‘Two Visions’ – a translation from the Estonian of Mathura

 

Below is an English version of the two-part poem ‘Kaks nägemust’ (‘Two Visions’) by the Estonian poet, Mathura. Winner of the Gustav Suits Poetry Award and other literary prizes in his native country, Mathura’s work has been rendered into a dozen languages and, here, has been translated into English in collaboration with the poet Matt Howard. The original Estonian follows the English version.

 


 

    Two Visions

 

I
The Bay of Käsmu

 

It’s not quite from sleep that I wake up
every morning, to see things swap places,
meanings tear – to see the land swell,
bushes roll like the tide, hear the wind
whistling somewhere in my head,
white daisies, feathers, the immensity
of greenery.
                    Then all stops,
thickens to a word I’m unable to utter.
Every morning I wake, the world
has gained or lost a dimension,
and I need to keep on looking for a grip
in this truth that appears and dissolves,
or dissolves and appears... A motor boat.
Heather that is blooming. A rocket base.
Once all this area was closed,
but now it is open and empty. A squall
of Arctic terns – the space between the land
and sea, the space between...

 

II
The Bogs of Loosalu

 

Gnats, the sky bristling its seraphs,
clouds as relative, the rowans blooming,
the air thickening and with such insects –
the view here, from this lookout,
falls from me, like words on a crumpled page,
without conclusion or finality,
losing it all, but still not changing.
Buds falter on the tattered ground,
dissolve into new blossoms.
                   Daylight horses gallop
where the storm is going, where the road tapers.
The muck clatter of hooves.
Butterflies fold and desiccate,
chrysalises moisten again,
into dust, and atoms
you and all that matters.

 


 

    Kaks nägemust

 

I
 
Igal hommikul ärkan justkui unest.
Asjad on vahetanud oma kohad,
nende tähendused rebenenud. Maapind
lainetab nagu Käsmu lahe soolane vesi,
põõsad käharduvad nagu lainte valged harjad.
Kusagil mu peas vihiseb tuul, tema mõõtmatus
on roheline – roheluse keskel huilglate
valged kakrad. Ühtäkki kõik seiskub, tiheneb
üheksainsaks sõnaks, mida ma ei
suuda välja öelda. Igal hommikul, kui ärkan,
on maailmal üks mõõde puudu või juures;
otsin pidet selles tões, mis loob ja hävib, loob ja hävib.
Mootorpaat. Kanarbik õitseb. Raketibaas.
Kunagi oli siin kogu ranna-ala suletud,
aga nüüd on see vaba ja tühi. Randtiirude riiakas kisa:
“Maa ja vee vaheline piir on paradiis,
maa ja vee vaheline piir on paradiis!”
 
 
II

Sääsk, keerub. Taevas turritab. Pihlakad
õitsevad. Õhk on pininast tiine. Mida kõike
võib meist ära võtta, ilma et muutuksime
kellekski teiseks. Meelevald. Meelevaldne
on kogu see elu, need tühjad tardumused
langemas rõdu raudvõrede vahelt
uuteks lehtedeks, uueks kõduks, millest
sünnitada ainult kõige väiksemaid asju,
neid ainsaid, millel on tähtsust.
Läbi taanduva tormi kuuled
valgete hobuste kappamist mööda
nähtamatuid radu. Kabjaplagin.
Liblikate õrn keerdumine tagasi nukkudeks.
Sina oled tolmukübe,
sina tähendad kõike.

 

Matt Howard

About Matt Howard

Matt Howard's first full collection, Gall, was published by The Rialto in 2018 and was winner of the 2018 East Anglian Book Award for Poetry, shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Prize in 2019 and won Best First Collection in the inaugural Laurel Prize 2020. After eleven years working for the RSPB, Matt is now the Douglas Caster Fellow in Poetry at the University of Leeds.